Few things in life are more rewarding than introducing a furry friend into your home. Whether you take a trip to the pound to adopt a senior dog or have your heart set on a rambunctious pup, you’re in for a world of unexpected surprises. Whether it’s a slimy kiss early in the morning or a not-so-happy accident left on your floor, you’ll need to prepare yourself for a dog-induced whirlwind.
Read on for seven must-know tips to help first-time dog owners put the right paw forward.
1. Different breeds have different activity levels
Before you bring home your life-long companion, make sure to study up on the various breeds to ensure your new friend is compatible with your lifestyle. Take an honest inventory of your day-to-day routine, looking at your free time, activity level, and dog-related goals. For example, well-bred lab puppies are perfect for first-time dog owners because of their fast learning and easygoing personalities. On the other hand, breeds like healers or German shorthairs require much more dedication and time-consuming training.
2. Prepare for a lifestyle change
A common faux-pas among first-time dog owners is underestimating how significant the lifestyle shift will be. On the surface, it may seem like a couple meals a day and a short walk around the block. However, many new pet parents find themselves in the deep end after late-night potty breaks, teething nightmares, and energetic outbursts continue for weeks on end.
That said, don’t be afraid to take the plunge into puppy parenthood. The mishaps will be worth it for a lifetime of companionship.
3. Think like a puppy
There’s no doubt that puppies are lovable, adorable creatures— but they’re also curious, adventurous, and mischievous. To keep your belongings safe from teething terrors and protect your young pup from hazards, you’ll want to take your time puppy-proofing your home.
Consider removing small objects from the ground, stashing away electronic wires, and stowing shoes in a puppy-free zone. That way, you can relax while your furry friend explores their new home.
4. Understand that the first days are crucial
The first few days of dog ownership are crucial for building strong bonds and trust between you and your new friend. Make sure you spend ample time getting to know their personality and shower them with attention as you ease into your new routine. That way, they’ll feel safe as they learn the ropes of their new world.
5. Create a schedule
An excellent way to ease your pup into your life is by sticking to a strict schedule for the first few weeks. By creating structure in your dog’s day, they’ll begin to understand the rules and catch on to training while you significantly reduce early-day chaos.
6. Early training is everything
From housebreaking to a sit-stay to walking on a leash, the early days of dog ownership will require diligent training. Foundational work will set the future tone, so you should research different methods and settle on a regime before your pup arrives.
7. Prepare to fall in love
One thing is for sure–before you know it, you and your family will be in love with your sweet puppy. Just make sure to stock up on doggy bags and treats before you bring home your new furry family member.